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Celibacy

by Dillon K. Inouye

Celibacy, the deliberate renunciation of marriage, is foreign to LDS life. Like other forms of ascetic withdrawal, it may deprive the participant of crucial life experiences. Spiritual maturity and exaltation in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom require marriage (D&C 131:2-3).

The norm of Latter-day Saint teaching and practice is for individuals to marry, procreate, and foster righteous living in their families as indicated in the scriptures: "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth" (Gen. 1:28). "Marriage is honourable in all" (Heb. 13:4). "Whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man" (D&C 49:15). Those who are unable to marry in a temple in mortality through no fault of their own will receive compensatory blessings later (D&C 137:5-8).

The practice of celibacy was not widespread among the Christian clergy until centuries after the death of the apostles. "Forbidding to marry" was, for Paul, a sign of apostasy (1 Tim. 4:3). Because ancient and modern revelation endorses marriage and because most religious leaders in the Old and New Testaments were married, Latter-day Saints reject attempts to interpret the Bible as advocating celibacy.

(See Basic Beliefs home page; Teachings About the Family home page; Teachings About Marriage home page)

Bibliography

Lea, Henry C. History of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church, 4th ed. London, 1932.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, Celibacy

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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